- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 21, 2009


Hawking in hospital; illness called serious

LONDON | Famed mathematician Stephen Hawking was rushed to a hospital Monday and was seriously ill, Cambridge University said.

The university said Mr. Hawking has been fighting a chest infection for several weeks, and was being treated at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge, the university city north of London.

“Professor Hawking is very ill,” said Gregory Hayman, the university’s head of communications. “He is undergoing tests. He has been unwell for a couple of weeks.”

Mr. Hawking, 67, gained renown for his work on black holes, and has remained active despite being diagnosed at 21 with ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), an incurable degenerative disorder also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.


NATO exercises in Georgia opposed

MOSCOW | Russia’s envoy to NATO on Monday threatened to call off a meeting of senior military commanders next month if the alliance went ahead with planned exercises in ex-Soviet Georgia, the Interfax news agency reported.

“If we see no reaction [to Russia’s protests about the exercises], the Russia-NATO meeting of the chiefs of staff planned for May 7 will not take place,” Interfax quoted Dmitry Rogozin as saying.

Russia, which fought a brief war with Georgia last year, has protested bitterly against NATO’s plans to hold a series of international exercises near Tbilisi next month.

NATO says it does not understand why Moscow is upset by the plans for exercises, which will involve 1,300 troops from 19 countries from May 6 to June 1.


Army shells Taliban targets

DERA ISMAIL KHAN | Pakistani security forces shelled and launched air strikes against the Taliban in the country’s northwest, killing four civilians and eight suspected militants, officials said Monday.

Scores of families fled the latest fighting, adding to an exodus of hundreds of thousands from the volatile tribal belt along the border with Afghanistan over the past year.

Shelling occurred overnight near Wana, the main town in the South Waziristan tribal region. A Taliban compound in the same area was targeted by a deadly suspected U.S. missile strike on Sunday.


Reactor can be restarted quickly

SEOUL | North Korea could restart its nuclear facilities within months, the chief of the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency warned Monday, but added he was optimistic that negotiations on halting Pyongyang’s atomic ambitions could be revived.

North Korea kicked out all international monitors of its nuclear facilities last week after vowing to quit six-nation disarmament talks and restart its atomic program in anger over the U.N. Security Council’s criticism of its April 5 rocket launch.

Pyongyang says the U.N. rebuke is unfair because the liftoff was a satellite launch under its peaceful space program. But the U.S. and others say the launch was really a test of long-range missile technology in violation of a U.N. resolution banning the North from any ballistic-missile activity.

International Atomic Energy Agency chief Mohamed ElBaradei said in Beijing on Monday “it could be a question of months,” when asked how soon North Korea could restart its nuclear facilities.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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